1.oh, all your history's like fire from a busted gun
Carlos supposes, it seems like it's always the sticky, summer, Sunday mornings when Paul pleads him to fold the laundry, because he wants to go into town.
He goes outside to bring the laundry in, Gaius nipping playfully at his heels. The sun is beating down bright over his head, as a warm breeze rustles the linens on the line. Paul has taken to loosely woven drawstring pants to combat with the climate here, and they fill the line. He likes the type that wrinkle easily, giving him a perpetually sun-kissed, rumpled look that he knows Carlos secretly adores. Carlos brings the laundry in, setting it on the couch, meticulously folding it under the portrait of Mary Magdalene that Paul hung the first day they moved in to the house with the utmost of care, and awaits his return.
Paul doesn't come back until well after sunset.
Carlos is outside, lazily playing fetch with Gaius and drinking a cerveza, when he hears the tinny whirr of the electrical bicycle Paul begged and begged him to buy, before he is even up the dirt path to their house. Paul parks the bike and drops a multitude of colored bags onto the small patio.
"Sorry. I meant to only go to the tienda, but I got stuck with the girls." He shrugs innocently, breaking off a piece of bread from one of his many bags.
"Gossip," Carlos retorts, still taking the piece of pandulce Paul offers to him. Paul sneaks a piece to Gaius when Carlos isn't looking, scratching behind the greyhound's ears. "I do have to say, I love the sunsets here," he mentions aimlessly, finishing his beer.
"I'm thrilled you've finally mentioned one thing you like about living here," Paul states, as Carlos rolls his eyes.
"It's also quiet," Carlos adds hastily, which gets him a quite audible sigh in reply. "The transition was rough, Paul."
"It would have been for anyone," Paul agrees, placing a hand on Carlos' shoulder. "C'mon, let's go inside. I have to tell you about how Consuela is still vying for you hand in marriage."
They both laugh and gather up bags overflowing with food, and strange knickknacks Carlos can only describe as paulish. He whistles for Gaius, who bounds up the stairs and inside, before he closes the screen door and turns off the lights.
2.baby, you can see that the gazing eye won't lie
Well, of course the locales know who they are.
Depending on who you ask, they are Señor Carlos y Señor Paulo if you ask the elders or Father Jiménez, the town local priest. They are los Americanos muy bonitos if you ask the señoritas in the village square, and Paul is somewhat dubiously named Blanco, if you ask pretty much anyone else, including those that witnessed the fight that occurred when he and Carlos went to a bar during their first week in their sleepy Mexican town.
Paul was drinking shots of tequila and playing darts, when he heard someone say at the bar quite audibly, Mira al pinche gringo aquí. ¿El es muy joto, qué? That was the day when the villagers learned that Paul actually understood Spanish quite well, as well as the fact he had a good right hook to boot.
"Sí, soy maricón, ¿Y qué?" He added calmly, before gathering up Carlos and leaving the bar.
Now, the villagers know that the two occupants of 335 Calle Del Sol may not be from around here, but should not be underestimated in any way. Especially not Blanco. After all, they may like muchachos, (which distresses Father Jiménez but does not detract him from his vigilance in praying for their redemption every night, nor the señoritas from still trying to win their hand in lavish nuptials), but they are not estúpido gringos. They are far from it, in fact.
To the town's entire surprise, Blanco speaks flawless Español. He's always whispering into his novio's ear, translating what they say, and Señor Carlos gets this look on his face that's polite, but rarely friendly. A face that looks a lot like he doesn't want to even be there, but for the whim of a lover. Blanco, on the other hand, is well known for going down to the wash and gossiping with the little old abuelas, and listening intently to their stories of days gone by. He's warm and polite, and always, always, compliments the señoritas on their fineries when he goes to the tienda in the village square.
"Ay, Blanco es muy bonito." The girls at the tienda say to each other, when he comes in.
"Sí, sí. El tiene ojos como el cielo azul," sighs one.
"Y su pelo está hecho de oro girado!" Squeals another, fanning herself.
And they go on like this, until Señor Pérez pokes his head from the back office. "¡Cállate las bocas!" He shouts, getting up and shooing them from their congregation at the register. "¡Trabaje, trabaje!"
"¡Ay! Perdón, señor!" They sing in unison, erupting into another fit of giggles.
3. old names, we'll make sweet will sustain us through the night
Carlos is at home alone, playing the ratty acoustic guitar Paul bartered his last good suit for. Gone are the cufflinks and perfectly cut lines of poly cotton blend, no more Gucci shoes or Dior ties. No more nine to five, no more vodka, no more cabs, no more rush hour traffic. Carlos supposes that's okay.
Because they have this.
They have a quaint little home with electricity and running water, which is more than some in their town have. They have a bed they wake up in together, and food on the table every single night. Carlos stays home, writing aimlessly and Paul works only rarely, mainly to sate his incredibly overwhelming curiosity of the culture around him, or just from sheer boredom. Carlos supposes Paul's always been used to being a busybody. Because it's textiles one day, as Paul comes home explaining to Carlos the intricacies of how a loom works, only to find out the next day Paul has been in a sweltering packing plant, boxing peaches for twenty-five cents a box take home pay, and a little bag of bruised peaches they eat after a dinner of ,i>camarones a la diabla he picks up on the way home.
Carlos is about to put the guitar up, when Paul bursts through the screen door, shirtless, hair mussed, and waterlogged cotton trousers rolled up to his calves. His tan is getting deeper every day, long gone is the delicate porcelain white Carlos remembers from days passed.
Paul kicks off his well-worn sandals and flops on the floral couch under Mary Magdalene, with a sigh.
"What's for dinner?" Carlos asks, carefully setting the guitar down.
"I don't know," Paul replies. "Hey, were you going to play something?"
"No," Carlos lies. "I thought about it, though."
"Give it here," Paul sits up and takes the guitar from him, and begins to strum.
Some nights Carlos will play guitar, and sometimes if he's really lucky, Paul will sing. Sad, sad songs in Spanish that Carlos never knows the words to and are the one thing Paul never translates to him. Songs that he knows speak of a longing for something Paul once had in his grasp and was wrenched away from him, and broke little bits and pieces of him in the process. He knows because it happened to him too.
Carlos never takes those moments for granted, it's always nice to hear Paul sing.
4. promises [we'll make some] will reveal our sense of right
Afterwards, when Carlos has washed all the dishes and Gaius has long since curled up and gone to sleep, Paul stops playing and crawls into bed with Carlos, resting his forehead on the other man's chest.
"I had a dream we went back to the states," Paul says unexpectedly.
"Did you?" Carlos asks. "Do you miss it?"
"Not really," he hears Paul sigh quietly. "Do you still want to go to Berlin?" Paul asks, looking up at him questioningly.
"Escúchame, Blanco," Carlos says, using his favourite nickname for Paul, while tucking unruly bangs behind his lover's ears. "We go anywhere you want, comprendes? I'll manage if you buy me a typewriter next time you're in town."
Paul laughs, but it sounds hollow and brittle.
"Can we stay here?" He asks meekly.
Carlos wraps his arms around Paul and kisses him on the forehead.
That was five years ago.